So one of the advantages / disadvantages of being largely immobile and housebound for the last 12 weeks is that I've had a lot of time to not only read (advantage) but also to watch a lot of television (disadvantage) and catch up on a bunch of movies that came out in 2010 and 2011 that I hadn't seen. Some have been really really good. Some have been just mediocre. But for the most part, anything that could occupy up to 2 hours of my time and distract my mind enough from the mind-numbing pain in my foot was (is) a good thing. Anyway, here's a list of movies I've seen in order of recommendation.
Ryan Gosling stars as "Driver," an unnamed stunt-car driver who does side jobs for criminals including getaway driver for a bank heist in the opening scene. Gosling's character exudes a calm coolness but other than his incredible driving ability, he doesn't particularly appear to be out of the ordinary, definitely not a violent or criminal kind (despite his part-time vocation). And the opening third or so of the movie runs kind of slow, focusing on the taciturn Driver and his growing affection for a new neighbor, played by the beautiful Carey Mulligan (who can turn any role into a charmer), and her young son. But when Mulligan's husband gets out of jail, things turn upside down and the movie starts to pick up speed. And all of a sudden -- well, I dare not reveal anything else for fear of spoiling what is just a non-stop amazing, action-packed thrill-ride of a second half that transforms Gosling's character from quiet everyman into -- something else. I'm not sure I cared for the ending, because it felt unnecessary, but otherwise this is a really great film... slow to start and not really hyped very well but pretty much every guy in my readership will enjoy it. It's definitely got a Tarantino vibe to it, not in the dialogue at all, but in the spirit of it all, underplayed by Gosling but perfectly played. Oh, and Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman are all pretty damn awesome in supporting roles.